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It is human nature to fear the unknown. While there is prejudice linked with most types of mental health disorders, psychosis is unarguably the symptom that an average person finds the scariest. Characterised by a cluster of symptoms, such as delusions, hallucinations, and profound disorganisation, psychosis features in different forms. It might simply be a sign of an underlying primary psychotic disorder, such as schizophrenia, or occur due to another psychiatric issue like depression or bipolar disorder.

To a layman with no understanding of the condition, psychosis is equivalent to being crazy or dangerous. And since the problem is not well-understood, people tend to cling to stereotypes more tightly as they contextualise or evaluate someone with psychosis. This stigma also hinders millions of people from across the world from seeking rehabilitation and treatment for their debilitating psychotic symptoms. But not anymore!

With the widespread availability of privately working rehabs in the UK offering a non-judgmental and discreet environment to recover, these people finally have a chance to get over their problems and start living normally once again.

When someone is going through a psychotic episode, they have a hard time interpreting the real world. The symptoms may vary from one person to another and even from one episode to another for the same person. Some common ones include:

Disordered Thinking

Psychosis causes the speech and thoughts of an affected person to slow down or speed up. Their sentences may become unclear and tough to understand, and the individuals may find it difficult to remember things or follow conversations.

Delusions

The affected person may believe unusual things for anyone with the same cultural background. This may take different forms, such as grandiosity (assuming that they are an essential figure or possess superpowers), paranoia (fearing that someone is watching them), depression (feeling guilty of a terrible crime that they did not commit in real life), and more.

Hallucinations

The afflicted person may start hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, or feeling things that do not exist in real life. Auditory hallucinations are the most common type experienced by most individuals. An example of this type of hallucination includes hearing voices that are not there.

Disordered Behaviour

A person living with psychosis may become childlike or severely agitated. They may swear, mutter, or stop responding to everyone around them altogether. Additionally, managing day-to-day tasks can become difficult for them.

Suicidal Thoughts

Psychotic individuals may feel the urge to harm themselves. Such suicidal risk is considered a medical emergency, and help must be sought immediately.

In some cases, an individual with psychosis can misbehave, such as becoming angry for no reason or laughing out loud at sad news. The aggression and agitation that usually accompanies this disease need to be managed professionally at a rehab under the supervision of a qualified healthcare team so that the patient does not harm themselves.

The treatment programmes offered at psychosis rehabs are based on two types of treatment modalities: therapy and medication.

Medication for Psychosis

Due to its well-documented effect on the brain chemistry and consequently on the symptoms of psychosis, the first-line treatment for a psychotic episode is starting a medicine regimen. The right choice of medication can change the processes of the brain that trigger or intensify the psychotic symptoms.

Antipsychotic Medications

The most common medicine prescribed for psychosis belongs to the antipsychotic category. Almost all of them work by blocking dopamine to calm down an overactive brain. Antipsychotics are categorised into two types:

  • First-generation antipsychotics or typical antipsychotics, including Haloperidol, Fluphenazine, and Chlorpromazine
  • Second-generation antipsychotics or atypical antipsychotics, such as Clozapine, Aripiprazole, Quetiapine, Olanzapine, and Ziprasidone

The difference between the two categories is that second-generation antipsychotics provide equal benefits with fewer side effects as compared to the first-generation antipsychotics.

Antipsychotic drugs can have an impact within hours, and they can alleviate agitation and confusion within minutes. However, medications for psychotic disorders usually take several weeks to become fully effective.

Antidepressant Medications

Antidepressants are commonly used to augment the benefits of antipsychotic medications to treat an actively psychotic episode. These medications also target and treat resistant symptoms of schizophrenia, especially the adverse effects associated with mood.

Research suggests that at least a quarter percent of people with schizophrenia and consequent psychosis suffer from comorbid depression. Such individuals can significantly benefit from the addition of an antidepressant to their treatment regimen.

Antidepressants are of different types, and the choice of drugs depends on different factors. Some common examples include Sertraline, Fluoxetine, and Citalopram.

Anti-Anxiolytics

Anxiety is a relatively common disorder worldwide, particularly prevalent in people with psychotic disorders. Some surveys suggest that up to 40 percent of people with schizophrenia-induced psychosis have a concurrent diagnosis of anxiety. In such cases, anti-anxiolytic are often added to the medication regimen. Sometimes, antidepressants like Citalopram, Sertraline, and Venlafaxine are also prescribed to fight anxiety symptoms.

While medications do form the core of most psychosis treatment programmes, therapy is also essential. Different therapeutic styles are offered at rehab centres to cater to varying areas of concern and treatment goals. These therapies can also support people to better manage their mental health conditions and live a high quality of life.

Mentioned below are some types of therapy commonly included in a psychosis treatment programme:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT for psychosis is particularly effective in dealing with irrational thought processes and disorganised thoughts experienced by the patients. It helps clients analyse these thought processes more clearly and support them in learning how to make rational connections with real life.

Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (CET)

CET was initially formulated for people with schizophrenia and focused more intensely on cognitive processes. It included different interconnected interventions, such as structured group work, neurocognitive enhancement exercises, individual coaching, and more, to speed up recovery.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

ACT is based on CBT and encourages clients to accept and embrace their feelings instead of attempting to change them. The therapy uses mindfulness along with other practices to help them understand their emotions more deeply without reacting to them. In this way, clients can learn to separate their sense of self from the ways they act and think. This provides them with the freedom to act in ways not matching their inner states.

Coordinated Specialty Care

Coordinated speciality care involves hand-picked interventions to address different symptoms and their effects on a client’s life. It has six components that include:

  • Family support and education
  • Case management
  • Psychotherapy
  • Supported employment and education
  • Medication management
  • Peer support

Family and Group Therapy

Both family and group therapy have the same working principles as individual therapy, except for the fact that the treatment takes place under peer support. In family therapy, the client and their families work to change their communication and behaviour patterns so that the recovery outcomes can be improved.

Psychotic disorders are notoriously famous for being difficult to treat. However, most of these issues are well-responsive to a broad range of treatment modalities. Early intervention can bring amazing benefits and higher chances of recovery with minimal risk of relapse.

The mainstay of most programmes for the treatment of psychosis UK is the use of medication; however, it is often combined with different therapeutic styles to attain the treatment goals. Victims can learn to manage their symptoms and restore normal lives with the right type of psychotic disorder treatment and support from peers.

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